Soccer games didn't always used to be synonymous with the absolute worst people in the world honking "Oh my days!" while filming themselves opening FUT packs, and it's important to remember that. It's happy news, then, that EA Sports and Football Manager developers Sports Interactive have banded together with the National Football Museum to create the Pitch To Pixel exhibition, showcasing football games through the ages.
There are some fascinating artifacts on display, even if your interest in football games leans staunchly towards the latter half of the equation. Who wouldn't want to see the rejection letter sent to Championship Manager creators Paul and Oliver Collyer from EA Games in 1991?
Or, indeed, a physical 3D model of Man City's Sergio Agüero based on 3D head-scanning EA performed to achieve his likeness in FIFA 15? My personal favourite is the ripped up Rio Ferdinand player card (above, image credit: National Football Museum), also from FIFA 15, torn by the man himself amid anger that his pace stat wasn't higher. 58 does seem a bit harsh, doesn't it?
The exhibition opens 23 October at the National Football Museum, and features playable retro games, the chance to slap yourself on the cover of FIFA or Football Manager, relics such as a worn Pelé shirt and Football Manager's 2007 BAFTA award.
If nothing else, it's a reminder of the staggering rate of advancement the genre's seen since 1979's Intellivision Soccer. Next time you're accusing FIFA of cooking up its usual bullshit or squinting at the boot textures in PES with suspicions they're ported over from last-gen consoles, take a moment and such appreciate how far we've come.